I like to tell people about my mom taking me to a Billy Graham crusade in Washington D.C. I don’t recall anything really as I was about five months from being born, but I suspect I enjoyed it. Well, fast forward more than twenty years. I am preparing to move out of my parents’ home for really the first time and planning a wedding — mine.
Mary and I were engaged a little over a year before getting married and we talked about having children early in our marriage. During this time things were beginning to “hit me”. Moving out into the real world, getting married, having people depending on me, what a realization. Also, during this time I worked closely with an individual (Terry Stuber) who is about ten years older than I and
who’s life had taken a course that I could easily see mine taking.
There was a certain peace about Terry. Oh yes, he had bills, unexpected car repairs, doctors visits, selling the family business, caring for an elderly parent, bad days at work. But he also had something that I could not exactly put my finger on. For now I’ll call it perspective. Nothing that was unimportant became overly important and even what was very important caused him little if any
I was drawn to Terry and began spending some time outside of work with him and his family. I was in their home when his wife learned that her father had passed away. yet again, I was struck by their reaction to what they had just been dealt.
Terry had told me that they went to church and I even asked a few polite questions about it. It wasn’t until I gave Terry the opportunity to share his take on life that I began to really understand what I couldn’t put my finger on earlier — surrender. Terry had surrendeed things about himself, actualy his very self, and he shared with me to Whom he surrendered.
Now I grew up in a church — a church with a youth group even. What I’ve come to learn is that it was a church without a calling, without a mission, without a pulse. I never was confronted in church with what I was now confronted with in my time with Terry. For almost three months Terry would answer questions, discuss whatever I had the notion to bring up and it all simmered and began to bubble like a pot of ragu, including the occassional plop up onto the back wall.
Late evening, February 22, 1985 — I would be turning 23 the next day. It all lay before me. Alone and in a whisper, I spoke to God…